Gov. Jerry Brown warned local water agency officials throughout California on Thursday that unless the delta tunnels project gets needed state and federal permits soon and continues advancing, the major infrastructure project may not happen in their lifetime.
Brown issued the warning Thursday in a speech to more than 1,000 water experts and officials whom he urged to support the project at a conference of the Assn. of California Water Agencies.
The speech came a month after the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California agreed to commit nearly $11 billion to build two massive tunnels to convey water under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the San Joaquin Valley and then on to the Southland. The project has been dubbed WaterFix by the Brown administration.
Gov. Jerry Brown plans to add $96 million to next year’s spending plan to address threats of wildfires and climate change.
Brown made the announcement in an executive order issued Thursday. Among other changes, the state will double the land currently managed for vegetation thinning, controlled burns and reforestation from 250,000 acres to 500,000 acres, boost education programs for landowners on forest fires and expand grants to improve watersheds.
“I intend to mobilize the resources of the state to protect our forests and ensure they absorb carbon to the maximum degree,” Brown said in a statement.
California’s electorate stands at 18.8 million voters — larger than the combined voter rolls from 2016 of almost two dozen U.S. states, according to a report issued on Thursday.
At the same time, the percentage of registered Republicans in the state fell to a new low, with the number now almost equal in size to the voters unaffiliated with any political party.
The report by Secretary of State Alex Padilla tallies an additional nearly 1.2 million voters compared with the same point before the 2014 statewide primary. The total represents 75% of Californians who are eligible to vote, an increase from recent years.
California’s six major candidates running for governor all are pledging a big boost in housing production as a way to tackle the state’s affordability problems.
Five of the six want to see developers build at a rate not seen in at least three decades. And the sixth wants an unprecedented increase in new government-subsidized homes for low- and moderate-income residents.
Adopting another measure to counter the Trump administration, the California Senate on Thursday sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would bar the disclosure of the immigration status of alleged crime victims and witnesses in open court unless a judge rules the information is relevant to the case.
Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced the bill after the state’s top judge expressed concerns over reports of immigration agents following immigrants in California courthouses. The efforts were seen as part of President Trump’s call for increased enforcement by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“Currently we know that ICE is in our courthouses,” Wiener told his colleagues before the vote. “We also know that there are situations where attorneys will ask witnesses on the stand about their immigration status whether or not it’s relevant to the case.”
Allies of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa are targeting Republican rival John Cox with a television ad and mailers that paint him as a carpetbagger from Chicago who is not truly conservative and has a history of losing campaigns.
On Wednesday, a group funded by wealthy charter school backers began airing a 30-second television ad that features a man wondering who could beat Democratic front-runner Gavin Newsom in the governor’s race. The man quickly dispenses with Assemblyman Travis Allen, another Republican in the race, before turning to Cox.
“What’s he done?” the man asks, as the ad shows a Google search of Cox. “A Chicago lawyer? Huh?”
California’s teachers’ retirement system will pressure retail companies it invests in to stop selling firearms and parts that are outlawed by the state, and would consider divestment from firms that refuse to make changes, a key panel decided Wednesday.
The vote by the Investment Committee for the California State Teachers’ Retirement System was supported by state Treasurer John Chiang, an ex officio member of the panel. It comes many months after he had asked in October that the system take more immediate action to stop investing in the gun retailers.
“If Congress and State Houses are either unwilling or unable to pass sensible policies to stop our schoolyards, work sites and places of worship from becoming killing fields, then let’s take the battle to where the money is,” Chiang, a candidate for governor, told the Investment Committee before the unanimous vote to adopt the engagement policy. On the debate stage Tuesday night, Chiang let voters know about the expected action coming from CalSTRS.